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100 years for J.B. Mertz & Son

By Staff | Jul 28, 2017

WEST BEND – J.B. Mertz & Son, of West Bend, is celebrating 100 years as a John Deere dealer.

The dealership was started in Ottosen by J.B. Mertz in 1907 as an implement business.

It became a John Deere franchise in 1917.

While in Ottosen, J.B. Mertz managed the implement store, livestock station and an elevator. At that time, he carried both John Deere and Farmall equipment.

Donald and Harvey Mertz worked with their father.

In 1935, J.B. Mertz moved the John Deere dealership and the livestock station to West Bend after selling the elevator. Donald Mertz left at that time to become a cattle buyer in Nebraska.

In West Bend, the dealership was first located on Broadway Avenue in the building currently owned by NAPA. The business was temporarily housed in a building that is now the West Bend Community Center.

The store was moved in 1949 to 17 S. Broadway where Community Lumber Inc. is now located.

In 1950, Jack Mertz joined his father and Harvey Mertz in the business. Jack Mertz managed the livestock business and Harvey Mertz oversaw the implement store.

After Harvey Mertz’s sudden death in 1959, Jack Mertz took over all aspects of the business.

It was in 1973 that John Mertz joined his father, Jack Mertz, in the family business. At that time they still owned the livestock and implement businesses.

The hog-buying station was sold to Western Buyers, of Algona, in the 1980s.

In 1964, the Ida Allen acreage was purchased, and in 1965 the present buildings were constructed. An expansion was added to the main office in 1999, in effect tripling the size of the original building. A 14,000-square-foot building was erected to house combines and provide a new wash bay in 2013.

J.B. Mertz & Son has seen the evolution of farming from horse-drawn equipment to 2-cylinder 25 HP tractors to the present day 6-cylinder 620 HP tractors.

“The biggest changes we have seen are the use of herbicides, insecticides and GPS systems which have enabled farmers to work more efficiently today,” John Mertz said.

When J.B. Mertz & Son began the business in 1917 they employed four people.

Today there are 18 employees.

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